The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria, is threatening to kill a second Lebanese hostage held in its custody. The man has been identified as Ali al Bazzal.
The threat was posted in tweets on one of the group’s official Twitter feeds. A banner containing the threat can be seen above.
In addition, a video posted online appears to show the group executing another Lebanese hostage, Mohammad Hamiyeh. In a tweet on Sept. 19, Al Nusrah said that Hamiyeh “is the first casualty of the stubbornness of the Lebanese military that has become a puppet in the hands of the Iranian party.”
The “Iranian party” is Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Bashar al Assad’s forces against Al Nusrah and other rebel forces.
Lebanese officials subsequently confirmed that Hamiyeh has been killed. The al Qaeda group had repeatedly promised to kill Hamiyeh if its demands were not met.
The video shows a man shooting Hamiyeh in the head, with Bazzal sitting to his right. Bazzal then pleads for his life, saying that Hezbollah, the “party of the devil,” must alter its operations.
“If you don’t stop attacking and inciting against our Sunni brethren then I will follow my fellow soldier who was killed right there,” Bazzal says, according to The Daily Star, a publication based in Lebanon.
The video does not appear to have been posted on Al Nusrah’s official Twitter feeds, but instead surfaced online separately. For instance, the banner shown above was posted on Al Nusrah’s Twitter feed for the Qalamoun region of Syria. The video was not posted on the same feed.
The version of the video viewed by The Long War Journal also does not contain Al Nusrah’s official media logo.
Still, the image of the man identified as Bazzal in the video matches the picture in banner republished above, which was released by Al Nusrah.
The banner contains the question, “Who will pay the price?” Al Nusrah used that same question in the first video it released showing its Lebanese hostages, who were captured in August, as well as in subsequent statements and online banners.
The al Qaeda group says that Hamiyeh was the first to pay the price, because the Lebanese army and Hezbollah have not met their demands. Al Nusrah has said previously that it wants Hezbollah to remove its fighters from Syria, and a number of other conditions met. As in Al Nusrah’s past hostage operations, the government of Qatar is attempting to broker the negotiations.
Al Nusrah has shied away from killing its captives in recent weeks, releasing hostages on several occasions. The organization has not produced graphic beheading videos like its counterparts in the Islamic State, a jihadist group that has captured large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria since earlier this year. The Islamic State and Al Nusrah are fierce rivals.
While it has not produced gory execution videos like its rivals in the Islamic State, Al Nusrah has now executed a Lebanese soldier and threatened to kill another hostage.